Getting Ready to Sell?
Getting ready to put your farm or country home on the market can seem like a daunting task for some. We know that maintenance is substantially higher than for regular residential real estate but, nonetheless, there are basics that need to be taken care of if you want to gain your property's full value. We understand that if you are running a business that time may be limited, so you have an important decision to make.
Buyers create market value. How can that be? If a buyer perceives the value of a property as reasonable and in line with others, they will move to purchase it if it meets their criteria. If they determine that the list price is high, based on comparison and need, they will pass it over. When this happens over and over, it is a clear indication that a listing is overpriced. As sellers come to the realization that perhaps the price they insisted on is indeed above what the market will bear, they agree to a downward price adjustment. If that doesn't happen, the property lingers on the market and a seller's plans are put on hold. When a property lingers, buyers begin to wonder what is wrong and will make the decision to pass it over. This is the reality.
“AS A SELLER, YOU HAVE A LOT OF CONTROL OVER THE ULTIMATE VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY. THE MARKET IS DRIVEN BY BUYER DEMAND WHICH CREATES A GENERAL RANGE OF VALUE DEPENDING BROADLY ON LOCATION, IMPROVEMENTS, AND CONDITION. IT IS CONDITION THAT DETERMINES IF YOU ARE AT THE TOP OR THE BOTTOM OF YOUR RANGE."
We are Happy to Share Our Knowledge.
Our agents and brokers have combined experience of over 140 years in the marketplace. Yikes! We mean it when we say that we have seen and experienced just about everything that can happen and have helped sellers navigate many obstacles along their journeys.
We decided to share a few words of wisdom gleaned from our past experiences with sales, other sellers and especially with buyers whose comments, concerns, and actions are what you need to know.
A seller's market does not mean that every listing will sell arbitrarily at any price and sell quickly. Homes with a bit of elbow room and farms of all kinds have a limited buyer pool and always have.
NH had 18,449 residential sales in 2021, up 4.6% over 2020.
Sales with 5 - 12 acres were only 7.8% of the market; sales over 12
acres a mere 4%.
You need to capture those buyers wanting property with acreage!
Clutter is distracting to most buyers and they can’t see past it. The goal is to make the space look bigger and brighter. Clutter makes it appear that there is not enough closet space or storage or room for the buyer's furniture.
Clear surfaces off, open up floor space by removing furniture, if necessary, to make rooms feel larger. Clean floors and baseboards do so much and cost nothing but time. Every house, no matter what price range, benefits from this approach. You have one opportunity to impress the buyer.
It is important to verify that any improvement or update you made is properly permitted by the building department. This would include an addition or bath, a deck or porch, or taxable outbuilding to name a few.
The following is not a normal situation but it does happen. We recently sold a farm for a couple that simply couldn't get around to moving a non-functioning hot tub, empty cardboard boxes, and piles of old flower pots (for starters) on the covered front porch. This was the only logical entry into the house so it was an "in your face" first impression for lookers. The inside was no better, although we were promised that the stuff would be gone. The owners "were working on it". They didn't bother. One of the many, many lookers did see through it and bought at about a $20,000 cost to the sellers for lack of preparation. These were astute and handy buyers that scored big!
99% Of buyers simply can't see past disarray and it leaves them unsure as to how the rest of the property is cared for. In other words, if a seller doesn't care about the things the buyer can see, they can only imagine the condition of the things they can't see. Of course, the sellers above had to remove everything by closing anyway. Doing it in time for showings would have been their best option.
As a seller, it is up to you to decide how prepared your property will be. We are happy to assist with suggestions to maximize your value but we can only sell the "product" you bring to the table.
If you have a barn on your property it, too, should be "staged". Horse barns are a BIG draw for buyers of our listings. Your part in the selling process is to make this asset shine in the eyes of your potential buyers. Whether in use as a busy boarding facility or nearly empty as you care for your aging best friend, it is important that this part of your farm be as inviting as the house and yard,
If you'e been using the barn for storage, it's time to clean it out. You'll have to move everything anyway, so do it now. It will photograph and show better this way and will shorten market time and bring you a higher offer. See a few Before and After photos here.
The outside of your home is as important as the inside when it comes to getting ready to sell. A freshly painted entry, a wreath or pot of flowers is welcoming and creates positive feelings.
Our office admin had a few words of wisdom as she reflected on the homes she visited on the quest for a country home for her young family.
"I'm not a Realtor but I can give a little input from a buyer perspective. When we were looking for our country home, there were things that stood out and not always in a good way! Walking into a house that had neutral colored walls versus bright colors was much more appealing and it made rooms look larger and welcoming, as well making us feel like we could move in and start with a blank slate."
The moral here is to keep colors soft and neutral so buyers can not only imagine themselves living there but that their furniture will fit right in, too!
Having a pre-listing home inspection by a licensed NH inspector, can be a smart move. Sellers who take this step have far fewer inspection issues than those that don't. A plus is that IF an issue does come up after your buyer's inspection, you will have a qualified and knowledgeable partner in your corner.
Big issues that can come up AFTER you’ve negotiated price and terms with the buyers are the home’s systems. Sellers can be so focused on hiring the right agent and thinking about staging so it looks pretty, that they forget about the major components and systems. If you can, have your own pre-listing home inspection by a licensed NH inspector. Common problems tend to be one or more of these:
Basements: Moisture or leaking? Is there a sump pump and, if so, is it functioning? Do you need a dehumidifier in the summer? A damp or wet basement can lead to mold problems.
Furnace or boiler: When was the last time the heating system was serviced? Supporting documentation should be available.
Hot water heater: Know the age, check for leaks, and be sure the pressure relief pipe is installed properly. This is a very common issue.
Electricity: How old is the panel? Is it rusty? Are the breakers labeled? If older, it might be worth having an electrician look it over.
Septic System: When last pumped? How old is it? Tank size, leachfield size and type? Provide documentation if you can.
One of the best things you can do to prepare your property for sale is to view it through a buyer's eyes. There are two ways to do this:
Drive into the driveway and take a good look at the overall view of this crucial vantage point. Is it a tidy appearance? Is there anything that REALLY needs attention? If you see something, you can be sure it will pop out at a buyer. The last thing you want to portray is that your property requires endless maintenance and these were things you just couldn't get to.
Take several pictures inside and out as well as around the grounds and a view from the road. Pictures are very telling. If you can, view your photos on a larger computer screen. Buyers zoom in on the details before they make an appointment. Take time to fix the things you can address such as cracked outlet covers, broken handles or faucets, cracked windowpanes, etc. And freshen where needed with a coat of paint over a properly prepared surface.
Obviously, the pandemic has changed the real estate landscape as 2021 was another record-breaking year. Single family residential unit sales, median price and sales volume hit all-time highs while inventory and supply hit their lowest marks in at least 17 years.
But some things HAVEN'T changed and that is the percentage of buyers looking for property with acreage, outbuildings and the like. Society is changing as a whole. Many younger buyers are looking for new construction, very low maintenance and an easy commute. Bigger isn't always better. Other buyers are looking for someone else to mow the lawn while they're at the beach.
It is our buyers who have an affinity for the lovely old capes and colonials, the big barns and charming gravel roads, mud season and all!
THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY TIME TO SELL YOUR PROPERTY. LET US GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS SAFELY AND EXPERTLY.
There are circumstances whereby an owner cannot manage to do things that will have an impact on the property's value.
Your agent will sit down and help you figure out how to overcome these hurdles to bring you to a successful close. We look forward to assisting you.